As described in one of my earlier posts “Triathlon Training: My Experiences” – running is my weakest aspect of a triathlon so naturally is what I have set out to improve upon. The next triathlon I plan to take part in is in May so now we are welcoming Spring I am trying to start training. A client mentioned to me about doing a “Park Run” themselves, something I had not heard of! It turns out it is a nationally recognised organisation that sets up locations all over the country of a 5k running distance for people to take part in for FREE! It’s all volunteers that help to organise the events and all you have to do is register online.
The website can be found here and is so easy to use. You register yourself and receive a confirmation email. This then gives you access to download a barcode which you must bring with you to run; this is then scanned at the finished line to know how long your running time was. How amazing?!
SO… 8.30AM Saturday morning, it’s freezing, cold crisp and beautiful. I pick up a friend (who is much better at running than I am) armed with our running trainers, long sleeve running tops, water and barcodes we are ready to roll. Our location is Moore’s Valley; somewhere only 20 minutes from where I live, and somewhere I have spent most of my childhood, a beautiful country park with an attached play park, golf course, cycling and running trails; somewhere really to not take for granted. The map attached above the header of this post is a map of some of the trails. Read more about Moore’s Valley Country Park here: http://www.moors-valley.co.uk.
I was so surprised at the volume of people – there must have been 100 people armed in neon, children, dogs, and people of all abilities. There was a man to explain the rules and the route and then counting you down 3, 2, 1 and we’re off. What an atmosphere; I was enjoying running?! The volunteers plotted around the course to direct you were motivating and clearly frozen themselves.
As soon as we started running we realised how slightly unprepared for the 2 degrees climates we were, my hands were numb within minutes! Learnt my lesson for next time – running gloves and thermals. We had a great run and it was definitely more enjoyable having a friend with me.
When we saw the finish line (which came around surprisingly quickly) we started to pick up our pace and semi-sprint to the finish, with people clapping you well done. We had our barcodes scanned straight away and that was that! Later the same day I received an email to tell me my running time was 33 minutes. I was pleased with this and now gives me something to improve upon. Park Run made it easy for me to achieve a 5km distance and motivated me to run at my best as I am awfully competitive, mainly with myself but others surrounding me working hard also pushes me. I much prefer to run on a trail or woodlands, I find it much easier on my joints and feet; my knees don’t enjoy running on a treadmill or road/flat surfaces so finding an exact 5km distance in a woodland can be tricky. I have 2 that I know of close to me but they took a little while and a couple of dog walks to work out!
Park Run is a great and motivating experience, a great way to kick off your weekend. Thanks to all the volunteers for making it possible! I would recommend Park Run to anyone wanting to improve their 5KM PB, improve their fitness or just take up running! Everyone really is welcome.
I hope you find this helpful, I would love to know of anyone else that has taken part in Park Run else where in the country!? Please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading. XX